« PreviousContinue »
if there was a war between India and Pakistan. He assured Ram that the United States would take a grave view of any Chinese move against India. (Memorandum of conversation; National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA-US) This memorandum is published in Foreign Relations, 1969–1976, volume E-7, Documents on South Asia, 1969-1972, Document 139.
Kissinger's assurance to Defense Minister Ram contrasts with a warning he purportedly gave to Ambassador L.K. Jha on July 17. According to Kissinger's appointment book, he met with Jha at the Western White House in San Clemente, California, on July 17. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Box 438, Miscellany, 1968–1976, Record of Schedule) An account of this meeting prepared by Jha, cited by Seymour Hersh, indicates that Jha and Kissinger met alone. Kissinger apparently did not prepare a record of the meeting. According to Jha's report of the meeting, as summarized by Hersh, Kissinger conveyed the warning that if war broke out between India and Pakistan and China became involved on Pakistan's side, "we would be unable to help you against China." (Seymour Hersh, The Price of Power, New York: Summit Books, 1983, page 452) Intelligence information subsequently obtained from India supports Jha's account. Kissinger, however, denied issuing such a warning when Harold Saunders raised the question on September 7. Kissinger and Jha ultimately reached agreement on the nature of the exchange in a conversation on September 11; see Documents 110, 143, and 146.
Memorandum for the Record
New Delhi, undated.
1. In my first twenty-four hours in India, I have had full exposure to the strong Indian feelings about the heavy burden imposed by the
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL 7 US/KISSINGER. Top Secret; Sensitive; Eyes Only; Nodis. Prepared by Kissinger. Sent by Haig to the Department of State's Acting Executive Secretary, Robert C. Brewster, under cover of a July 8 memorandum stating that it was for the exclusive use of Secretary Rogers, and that a copy had been sent directly to Rogers at the Western White House in San Clemente, California, where he was then staying. Another copy of the memorandum in the Kissinger papers shows a drafting date of July 7. (Library of Congress, Manuscript Division, Kissinger Papers, Top Secret Chronological File, Box TS 4, 1971 July) On July 8 Haig sent the memorandum to President Nixon, under cover of a memorandum summarizing the report. (Ibid., Geopolitical File, Box TS 58, Trips: HAK, Chron File July 1971)
refugees and against what they regard as continued US support for Pakistan. Most are still talking about the importance of a political settlement in East Pakistan, but I sense an increasing judgment that Yahya does not have the capacity to bring this off, certainly not on his present course. There seems to be a growing sense of the inevitability of war or at least widespread Hindu-Muslim violence, not necessarily because anyone wants it but because in the end they fear they will not know how to avoid it.
2. With Foreign Minister Singh, I began the conversation by saying I felt I owed him as a point of honor an explanation of developments in regard to arms shipments for Pakistan since his visit to Washington. I explained the evolution of our position since March 25. Only recently did it become apparent that there was one category of equipment not covered under these steps. I said that a list of this equipment was now being prepared and would be ready next week. We would review this. Singh asked that I convey to the President his strong urging that our arms policy be reviewed with an eye to ending all shipments. The Indians view these as prejudicial to their interests.
Singh then asked for a description of our view of US interests in South Asia today. To provide some measure of reassurance that we take India seriously, I drew this perspective: India is one of the pivotal countries of the world because of its size, position, form of government, example to developing nations and potential contribution to peace and stability beyond its region. Pakistan, which we have a special relationship with on several issues, is a regional country of more special character. I concluded by saying that our commitment to the vitality and cohesion of India is substantial.
As for our policy in the present situation, I said the President felt that an Indo-Pakistani war would be a disaster for both countries and would create the risk that the subcontinent would become an area for conflict among outside powers. The President has felt that he had certain influence in Pakistan which could be used to encourage the Pakistani Government to encourage political solution. We recognized that the Indians would prefer US to cut off assistance for the shock effect of that step, but the President had felt that we should do enough to maintain our influence.
To this, Singh responded that he felt that President Yahya's statement of June 28 had snapped the last chances for a political settlement. He is very doubtful that a political settlement is still possible. From reports he has from the British, he does not believe Yahya is being given the full facts about the situation and therefore does not have a realistic picture of what will be required for a genuine settlement. I said I had no judgment on this since I had not been to Pakistan but that I planned to make clear that the US favored a political settlement.
In a brief private session, he told me that India would not insist on a settlement involving the jailed East Pakistani leader, Mujibur Rahman, but would be satisfied if Pakistan could come up with a solution that is non-military and non-communal; i.e., is not biased against the Hindus.
3. With the Prime Minister, I took the same general line on India's importance without going into as much detail on the arms shipments. She explained her political problems: she does not want to use force and is willing to accept any suggestions. It is a question of how the situation develops and what can be done practically. She is concerned about Chinese influence growing in East Pakistan. I assured her the whole point of our policy has been to retain enough influence to urge creation of conditions that would permit the refugees to go back, although we would not promise results. I asked how much more time she thought there was before the situation became unmanageable, and she replied that it is unmanageable now and that they are “just holding it together by sheer willpower."
4. With both Prime Minister Gandhi and the Foreign Minister, I took a few moments privately to explain the background of the President's policy toward China over the past two years and to lay the groundwork for increasing contacts. I felt this was essential in avoiding future charges that, on an issue of vital concern to them we had not at least confided our general intent. In each case, I made clear that our moves closer to China derived from the President's sense of what was necessary for world peace, was in no way directed at India, and would in the long run benefit India. Nevertheless, we would, I said, take the gravest view of any unprovoked Chinese aggression against India. Singh sought assurance that the US would provide equipment in event of attack.
5. Indian press had emphasized demonstrations on arrival. Incidents minimal and isolated and Secret Service reports situation generally quiet. Any reports of conversations you see in press are from Indian sources. I have talked to no members of the press.
Memorandum From the President's Deputy Assistant for
Dr. Kissinger's Talks with Mrs. Gandhi and Foreign Minister Singh
Some additional information concerning Dr. Kissinger's meetings with Mrs. Gandhi and Foreign Minister Singh has been provided in Ambassador Keating's reporting cables:
-In a brief initial private session Mrs. Gandhi explained her political problems, her desire to avoid the use of force and her concern about Chinese influence in East Pakistan.
-When asked how much time there was before the refugee problem would become unmanageable, Mrs. Gandhi said it already was "and we are holding it together by sheer will power." She added that practically no one in the Indian Parliament approved of her policy.
-Mrs. Gandhi said that India was not wedded to any particular solution to the conflict between East and West Pakistan. In fact, she said, it is not an Indo-Pak problem and that India would not be involved except for the refugees.
-Mrs. Gandhi asserted that the pattern of the past U.S.-Pak relationship has led the Pakistanis to expect U.S. support no matter what actions it takes. This, she said, has encouraged a "policy of adventurism" and it is irritating to have the whole survival of the Pakistani state based on antagonism to India.
- Concerning her possible visit to the U.S. in November, Mrs. Gandhi said she would like to come but could not "breathe a word of it now” or she would be placed in a position where she would have to
-In a relaxed, unemotional and cordial atmosphere, much of the same ground was covered with Foreign Minister Singh. He made an explicit effort to depersonalize the issue of our own shipments to Pakistan but did emphasize the blow to Indo-U.S. relations.
Source: Library of Congress, Kissinger Papers, Geopolitical File, Box TS 58, Trips: HAK, Chron File, July 1971. Secret; Nodis. Sent for information. The memorandum was sent to President Nixon on July 8 as an attachment to another memorandum from Haig summarizing Kissinger's visit to New Delhi. (Ibid.) A handwritten note in an unknown hand reads: "Don't send-pouch back.”
Memorandum of Conversation
Rawalpindi, July 8, 1971.
Sultan Khan, Foreign Secretary
The conversation began with Dr. Kissinger pointing to some newspapers on the table in the reception room where the conversation took place and saying that it was a pleasure to see newspapers that were not reporting criticism of him. He said that the stories in the New Delhi newspapers about his talks came from Indian sources. He did not have a single word with the press in New Delhi. Each person he talked to must have given his own personal version of what Kissinger had said. There had been a “horrendous storm" in the press against the US while he was in New Delhi.
The Foreign Secretary replied that this put the Government of Pakistan in distinguished company. It too is receiving a bad press. Dr. Kissinger said that the Government of Pakistan had not handled its press relations as skillfully as it might have. Not many people around the world, for instance, know that the Government of Pakistan had invited the United Nations to come and work in the program for restoring the East Pakistani refugees to their homes.
The Foreign Secretary replied that this had been widely released by the UN organizations involved. Ambassador Hilaly said that, despite the release of news, the newspapers do not print the news. Mr. Ahmad said that Pakistan would have to buy space to see that the news
Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Files 1970–73, POL INDIA-US. Secret; Nodis. The meeting was held at the President's Guest House in Rawalpindi. Kissinger arrived in Rawalpindi on July 8; he met with Sultan Khan and M.M. Ahmad in the afternoon and in the evening with President Yahya. Kissinger left Rawalpindi on July 11, stopped in Paris on July 12, and returned to the United States on July 13. Kissinger's visit to Pakistan provided the cover for a secret trip to China undertaken with the collaboration of Yahya Khan. Dennis Kux, the political counselor of the Embassy, writes that knowledge of Kissinger's primary objective in visiting Pakistan was limited to “practically only Ambassador Joseph Farland." Kissinger's cover story for his flight on July 9 from Pakistan to Peking was that he was suffering from "Delhi belly" or dysentery and had accepted Yahya's offer of a day of rest at the mountain resort of Nathiagali. (Dennis Kux, India and the United States: Estranged Democracies, Washington, D. C.: National Defense University Press, 1993, p. 321)